How Much Do Airplanes Weigh?

By Pilot Institute
Posted on August 5, 2023 - 4 minute read

Ever wonder how much an airplane weighs? It’s not as straightforward as you’d think.

Today we’ll explore the maximum takeoff weight of many different aircraft; from small propeller airplanes to massive jetliners.

Key Takeaways

  • Airplanes can weigh anything from 1,500 pounds to over 800,0000 pounds.
  • Light aircraft like the Cessna 172 have maximum weights of less than 4,000 pounds.
  • Turboprops and private jets, like the Pilatus PC-12 and Gulfstream G650, have maximum weights between 10,450 and 99,600 pounds.
  • Commercial airliners, such as the Boeing 737, Airbus A320, and Boeing 777-300ER, have maximum weights from 110,000 to 775,000 pounds.
  • Heavy jets and cargo aircraft, like the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380, exceed maximum weights of 775,000 pounds.

Light Aircraft

Cessna 172 and Cirrus SR22

Light aircraft are often what come to mind when we talk about small, private airplanes. Typically, these aircraft are used for personal or small business purposes, carrying anywhere from one to six people.

Generally, light aircraft have a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of less than 12,500 pounds. But this figure includes the weight of the airplane, the fuel, passengers, and cargo it might carry.

Some examples include:

  • The Cessna 172, is one of the most common light aircraft, with an MTOW of 1,550 pounds.
  • The Diamond DA42, is a multi-engine light aircraft, with an MTOW of 4,407 pounds.
Diamond DA42

As you can see, even in this “light” category, weights can vary quite a bit depending on the specific model and configuration of the airplane.

Private Jets and Turboprops

Pilatus PC-12 Embraer Phenom 300 and Gulfstream G650

Ready for an upgrade? Let’s move from light aircraft to private jets and turboprops. These flying machines add a touch of speed and luxury to the world of aviation. They come in different sizes to serve various needs, but all promise a faster and more comfortable journey.

Turboprops typically have a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) between 12,500 and 19,000 pounds.

On the lower end (and technically a light aircraft), the Pilatus PC-12, has a MTOW of 10,450 pounds. Turboprops combine the efficiency of propeller-driven aircraft with the speed and altitude capabilities of jets.

On the other hand, private jets come in light, mid-size, and heavy categories.

Light jets like the Embraer Phenom 300 have an MTOW of around 17,968 pounds.

Moving up, mid-size jets, such as the Hawker 800XP, have an MTOW of approximately 28,000 pounds.

Lastly, for those seeking ultimate luxury, heavy jets like the Gulfstream G650 have an astonishing MTOW of 99,600 pounds.

Commercial Airliners

Boeing 737 and Airbus A350-1000

Now we’re getting to the big leagues. Commercial airliners are the giants of the sky, ferrying hundreds of passengers across continents and oceans.

Commercial airliners have maximum takeoff weights ranging from approximately 110,000 pounds to over 775,000 pounds.

Commercial airliners can be broken down into two categories: narrow-body and wide-body.

In the narrow-body category, we have the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.

The Boeing 737 has a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) ranging from 129,000 pounds (64 tons) for the older 737-200 series to 203,000 pounds (101 tons) for the latest 737 MAX 10.

Meanwhile, the Airbus A320neo has a maximum takeoff weight of approximately 172,000 pounds.

These aircraft are perfect for short to medium-haul flights.

On the heavier side, wide-body airliners are designed for long-haul and ultra-long-haul flights. For instance, the Boeing 777-300ER, a popular wide-body aircraft, has a maximum takeoff weight of a whopping 775,000 pounds.

Heavy Jets

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy and Airbus A380

We’ve seen some impressive numbers so far, but now it’s time to look at the heaviest hitters in aviation – heavy jets and cargo aircraft. Designed for long-haul flights, these aircraft are engineered to carry substantial numbers of passengers or considerable amounts of freight.

Heavy jets have a maximum takeoff weight of over 775,000 pounds.

For instance, the Boeing 747, famously known as the “Queen of the Skies,” has a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of a staggering 970,000 pounds. This iconic airplane serves as a passenger airliner and prominent cargo aircraft in its Boeing 747-8 freighter variant, which can carry a similar MTOW.

Next, consider the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner, with an MTOW of an astounding 1.2 million pounds. The ability to lift such a massive weight into the sky and keep it there for hours is nothing short of an engineering marvel!

In the realm of dedicated cargo aircraft, airplanes like the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy tip the scales even further. This gigantic military transport aircraft, one of the largest in the world, has an MTOW of an impressive 833,000 pounds.

Most of these aircraft are classified as “Super” heavy aircraft.

List of Airplane Weights

AircraftMaximum Takeoff Weight (lbs)
Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee2,400
Cessna 172S Skyhawk2,550
Cirrus SR223,600
Diamond DA42 Twin Star4,407
Pilatus PC-1210,450
Beechcraft King Air 25012,500
Embraer Phenom 30017,968
Pilatus PC-2418,300
Hawker 800XP28,000
Gulfstream G65099,600
Boeing 737-200129,000
Airbus A220-100134,000
Airbus A320neo172,000
Boeing 737 MAX 10203,000
Airbus A350-1000679,000
Boeing 777-300ER775,000
Lockheed C-5 Galaxy833,000
Boeing 747-8I988,000
Airbus A3801,208,000


Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) is crucial for safe flight operations, but it’s not the only type of weight that pilots use.

To get a better understanding of the different types of weight, have a look at our guide to Weight and Balance Terms.

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